When did swimsuits come out?


Lifestyle. Swimsuits. As the warm weather arrives, people worldwide start searching for the ideal swimsuit. Depending on your style, you might never know how important & interesting a swimming suit history is. It takes you on a trip through the history and culture of women's and men's swimwear. Take a beach bag and learn about swimsuit history!


swimming suit history

Swimming suit history


Ancient Greece - the bathing dress was made of wool and designed to cover as much skin as possible.

The bathhouses of ancient Egypt were not modest places – they were bathing places. If your skin is thicker, your skin will become softer. All women were given separate spaces, thereby avoiding the cross-gender viewing issue. Generally, women from 200 B. C. to 500 B. C. were mostly essentially nude or wore incredibly little suits with bandeaus in them.

In ancient Greece, the goal of a bathing costume was to cover as much skin as possible. This was achieved by using a material like wool to absorb water and prevent the wearer from getting too cold. The style of these garments was also designed to minimize exposure, with long sleeves and loose-fitting skirts. While this may appear to be a long cry from today's revealing bikinis, it is important to remember that the climate in Greece is very different from that of other parts of the world. With its warm Mediterranean weather, ancient Greeks were more concerned with protecting their skin from the sun than showing off their bodies. As a result, their swimwear served a very different purpose than the swimsuits we wear today.

Clad (late 1700s to 1800s)

Unless you see the ocean and sand, it'll be impossible for anyone else to imagine Victorian ladies on the sand. Modesty was an extremely useful trait that helped distinguish the gentility from the lesser bourgeois. Therefore an upper-class woman's bathing suit left everything to the imagination.

In the 1700s and 1800s, bathing gowns were often made of heavyweight fabrics such as wool or flannel. They were designed to protect the modesty of bathers, as well as to keep them warm. The gowns were usually long, reaching down to the ankles or floor. They often had wide sleeves and high necklines and were fastened with buttons or ties. In some cases, they were also lined with fur or other materials to further protect the wearer from the cold. A bathing gown continued to be popular in the 19th century, although they were often made of lighter-weight fabrics such as cotton or linen by this time.


Bathing Gowns

Bathing Gowns


Throughout the years, many women used bathtubs in order to keep the world under wraps. They were pushed in or near water, where individuals could change into swimming suits.

Bathing machine

Fashion was dictated by modesty. Face-shading bonnets, shawls, and gloves cover two ladies as they approach a set of bathing machines, a type of mobile cabana, in this 1797 Gallery of Fashion lithograph. Ladies were known to weave weights into the hems to keep their smock-like bathing robes from floating up and displaying their legs. The Regency Era saw the start of a swimsuit revolution in the early 1800s.

Sea bathing and bathing shoes

In the 1800s, sea bathing became a popular way to enjoy the outdoors and improve health. Bathing shoes were developed to protect their feet from the hot sand and sharp shells. These shoes were usually made of soft fabric or rubber and featured an open toe. They were often brightly colored, making them easy to spot on the beach.

Today, sea bathing is still a popular pastime, and many people still wear bathing shoes. While they are no longer required for health reasons, they remain a popular choice for their comfort and style.

In the early 1900s - women started wearing more revealing swimsuits, but they were still scandalous.


Early 1900s

Early 1900s


Gender roles started shifting somewhat in the early 20th century. In 1920 women could vote. They were arrested approximately a year before that because they appeared on a shoreline with bare legs. It changed partly when women began to swim — actually swim. The sport was an intense sport at that time; women could swim in schools as well as at leisure. In response, the bath suits have been functionalized. There were wool pieces, but they were smaller. A bathrobe from the early 1900 was a one-piece, tank-style jumper, stopping at the waist and allowing real movement in the water.

In the early 1900s, women's swimsuits began to get more revealing. While they were still considered scandalous by some, they were a far cry from the cumbersome Victorian-era bathing costumes that had preceded them. These new suits were often sleeveless and made of thinner materials that allowed more movement freedom. They also exposed more of the legs and torso, which was seen as highly provocative.

Despite the controversy, these more revealing swimsuits quickly became popular, especially among younger women in the years since they have become an essential part of summer fashion.

Bathing coats/jackets

In the early 1900s, bathing jackets were also fashionable. In the early 1900s, one of the most popular outerwear styles was the bathing coat. Bathing coats were designed to be worn over swimsuits and were made from a variety of materials, including wool, linen, and even silk. They ranged in length from knee-length to floor-length and could be decorated with various embellishments, such as fringe, tassels, and embroidery.

Although they were designed for function, bathing coats also made a fashion statement. They allowed women to show off their sense of style while appropriately covered for activities like swimming and sunbathing.

Today, bathing coats are making a comeback as a fashionable and practical piece of outerwear. Thanks to their timeless design, they can be worn for a variety of occasions, from the beach to the pool to the park. Whether you're looking for a functional cover-up or a fashionable statement piece, a bathing coat is a perfect choice.

Bathing caps

A woman's swimming outfit in the early 1900s most likely featured bathing hats. Women often accessorize their swimsuits by wearing short hats, known as bath caps. It was used for protecting your hair. Some girls also carried fancy handkerchiefs or scarves over the tops of their hats.

In the 1920s - the first bathing suits with elasticized fabric were created, making them more comfortable and practical.

The first bathing suits with elasticized fabric were created in the 1920s, making them more comfortable and practical. Bathing suits had been largely unchanged for centuries, consisting of a simple tunic or shirt.

However, as swimwear became more popular in the early 20th century, designers experimented with new shapes and materials. The addition of elastic helped create more form-fitting swimsuits that were easier to move in. This new style quickly became popular, and by the end of the decade, most swimsuits had adopted this construction.

The Elasticized bathing suit was more comfortable and allowed for a greater range of motion, making It's ideal for swimming and other aquatic activities. Thanks to this innovation, people could finally enjoy their time at the beach without worrying about their clothes falling off.

History of women's swimsuits


History of women's swimsuits

History of women's swimsuits


In the early 1920s, women's swimwear underwent a dramatic transformation. Gone were the bulky, cumbersome dresses of the Victorian era, replaced by sleek, form-fitting suits that showed the modern woman's figure. This new swimsuit style was championed by iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel, who unveiled her first line of swimwear in 1922. Chanel's suits were made from lightweight jersey fabric and featured simple, clean lines. They were instantly hit with fashionable women who flocked to beaches and pools to show off their new looks.

The popularity of Chanel's women's bathing suits helped popularize wearing less clothing in public. By the end of the decade, women's swimsuits had become tighter and more revealing.

Men's swimming suits

In the early 1920s, swimming became increasingly popular as a recreational activity. While there were no formal rules governing men's swimming attire, most swimsuits consisted of long shorts that reached the knee. This swimsuit style was practical and allowed for a full range of motion. However, it also tended to be bulky and uncomfortable.

In 1925, French designer Jacques Heim released the first ever "tank suit." This new swimsuit style was much lighter and more form-fitting than its predecessors. It quickly gained popularity and became the standard for men's swimwear throughout the 1920s. The tank suit remained popular until the end of the decade when shorter, more revealing styles began to come into fashion.

In the 1930s - swimsuits became even more revealing, with high-cut legs and low-cut tops.

The 1930s were a decade of big changes, including changes to swimsuit fashion. In the early part of the decade, swimsuits became even more revealing, with high-cut legs and low-cut tops. By the end of the decade, more modest styles were coming back, with higher necklines and longer skirts. This was largely due to the rising popularity of competitive swimming, which necessitated the development of more comfortable swimsuits with a greater range of motion.

However, the more revealing styles were also scandalous by many, and there was a growing backlash against them. Nevertheless, the 1930s were a pivotal moment in the history of swimwear, and their influence can still be seen in today's fashion.

Men's swimsuits in the 20s and early '30s

During the 20' and early '30s, men's swimsuits were composed of one-piece dresses which appeared similar to tanks on shorts. Thin horizontal stripes typically covered the suits, and various colors such as red and tan were available.

The 1940s - World War II led to a decline in the popularity of bathing suits

The 1940s were a difficult time for many people around the world. The outbreak of World War II led to a decline in the popularity of swimsuits, as people had to ration cloth and materials. In addition, the war effort led to an increase in the production of utilitarian clothing, such as khaki shorts and shirts. As a result, swimwear became less fashionable and more functional.

However, after the war ended, swimsuits once again became popular as people looked to escape the harsh realities of the recent past. Thanks to new fabrics and design innovations, swimsuits have become more comfortable and stylish. Today, swimsuits are worn by people of all ages and sizes, making them one of the most popular types of clothing.

One piece bathing suit in the 1940s

One-pieces were redesigned to look much like short, tight dresses. The top looked more like an ordinary bra, and the skirt capped the backside, hips, and lower body. It was highly fashionable in halters in the 1940s.

In the 1950s - the bikini was invented and changed the course of swimsuit history forever.


First Bikini

First Bikini


The two-piece bathing suit was invented in the 1950s, and it caused a huge controversy. French designer Louis Reard introduced it. He named it after the atomic bomb tests in Bikini Atoll. The bikinis were two-piece suits that showed a lot of skin. The first woman to wear the bikini was Micheline Bernardini. She was a French showgirl. The swimsuit became very popular, and it changed the course of swimsuit history forever. Bikinis became smaller and smaller over the years, and they are now a staple in the fashion industry.

Material of bathing suits

In the 1950s, the material of bathing suits changed again. Although a single or a pair of shirts still resembled the '40s t-shirts, the material stayed unchanged in the '50s. Nylon is also used to stretch the clothes longer and for quicker drying.

The 60s brought tighter swimsuits.

The bikini made its debut in the early 1960s, and it quickly became the go-to swimsuit for many women. In the 1960s, low-cut swimsuits became popular, and bikinis also began growing. The bikini was seen as a symbol of liberation, and it allowed women to show off their bodies in a way that was previously not possible. While the bikini was initially met with some resistance, it quickly became accepted as a mainstream fashion item. The bikini has undergone many different iterations in the years, but it remains one of the most popular swimsuits for women.

The 1960s was a period of transition in many aspects of American culture, and fashion was no exception. The move from the more modest swimwear of the 1950s to the tighter, more exposing designs that were fashionable in the 1960s was one noticeable alteration.

In the 1970s, the swimsuit style was more revealing than ever.

The 1970s was a decade of change, which is reflected in the fashion of the time. In the 1970s, swimwear became more open and bold. Hemlines were shorter than ever, and waistlines were lower. Necklines plunged, and sleeves became optional. Thong bikini bottoms and swimsuits were becoming popular. In general, clothes were designed to show more skin. This was also true of swimsuits. Bikinis became smaller and more revealing, and one-piece suits began to show more cleavage and leg. In addition, new fabrics like Lycra were introduced, which clung to the body in a way that accentuated curves. As a result, swimsuits in the 1970s were more revealing than ever before.

In the '70s, swimsuits also had plenty of vibrant patterns. During this decade, women's swimsuits had a lot of color patterns, and men's swimsuits had similar patterns. Swimsuits men are usually worn in length, which remains popular today, and some are embellished with fashionable belts.


Baywatch SwimsuitsBaywatch Swimsuits



Swimsuits have come a long way over the years, and we can thank different cultures and historical events for some of the more interesting designs. Whether you're looking for a new suit to hit the beach or pool this summer or just want to learn more about swimsuit history, we hope you enjoyed this post. Check back soon for our next interesting post. See you soon!


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With love, the Ishine team.